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I’m too busy to be ill – the old work life balance rears its ugly head again!
Another load of ramblings from me again I’m afraid, but this is something that has been playing on my mind for a while now, and only really came to a head yesterday when I woke up ill!
I’m busy……and I seem to spend my whole life telling people I’m busy, or making excuses for things because I’m too busy.
Being self-employed, for those of you who are, will understand me when I say it takes over your life!……and unfortunately I still haven’t quite managed the balance between work and life!
I made a new year’s resolution this year to make more time for my husband, my family and my friends…and have I?…..No I haven’t! I’m still working every hour and even harder than I was.
So yesterday when I woke up from a rubbish night’s sleep of coughing and spluttering, and realised that maybe I wasn’t 100%….I realised that I hadn’t made any head way at all. The first thing I thought was, not ‘I should stay in bed and take the day off and get myself better’ my first thought was ‘I’m too busy to be ill’……..so I got up stumbled round the house, put a load of washing in, fed the cat, put the washing form yesterday away, made the bed…had a shower and then wondered why I felt dizzy and sick. My compromise was to cancel my one appointment of the day, put my pyjamas on and sit at my desk all day and plough through my to do list!……..my reasoning was that I was in my PJs, so it wasn’t work really!!
But why couldn’t I take the day off?…………Guilt! guilt from the feeling that I wasn’t working hard enough, that if I dared to take a day off work the rest of the world would look down on me and think I was a bad wedding planner, a bad blogger, a bad person for letting by body get the better of me.
I like so many other people I’m sure am my own worst enemy, I put myself under so much pressure that I sometimes forget I’m not a machine. I work till 1-2am every night, I wake up at 7am and I get up and do the whole thing over again…….but is this productive, probably not!
But I feel that if I don’t then people will think badly of me.
(image from work life balance )
The weird thing is it’s the people who take the time off that I am most envious of, I see people tweeting about their days off in the middle of the week, shopping trips and lunch dates…..and I think to myself I can’t ‘because I’m too busy!’…again I’m my own worst enemy!
But what can I do about it? The ‘busy’ work that I am doing is real work, it’s brides emailing me all day every day, it’s new suppliers getting in contact, it’s new enquires coming in, proposals I’m writing, time lines I’m writing for upcoming weddings, suppliers I’m chasing, or suppliers I’m trying to find, new blog submissions coming in, people asking to be featured, invoices to send out, articles to write, blogs to read, blog post to put together…….the list is endless, as is my to do list!……but I’m sure anyone around me is just fed up of hearing it. But with the 24 hour contactable society that we live in now, it really is endless…emails, office phone, mobile, twitter Facebook, texting……so many ways to stay in contact…..it’s almost impossible to switch off!
It’s hard trying to juggle work and life, especially when you have 2 full time wedding jobs, being a planner is completely unsociable, as anyone who works in the wedding industry will understand weekends are pretty much all taken up with…well weddings, and those weekends that aren’t you are normally to knackered to even do anything. And as for the blogging well that just fits in all the gaps where the wedding planning isn’t, there aren’t that many jobs you can do at 2am…..but this one you can!
My mother in law popped round the other day to drop Nik’s birthday present off, could I stop and talk to her……no, I rushed her in and rushed her out the house again as soon as she had put the present on the kitchen counter! Complaining that I was ‘too busy!!’
My Husband said to me yesterday, do you ever speak to Julie anymore (I used to work with Julie in my past job) my reply was ‘no I don’t but, I don’t really speak to anyone any more’…..well that just isn’t good enough! My friends have taken a back seat to my work, I said it on January 1st so I’m saying it again…………….I need my life back!
I need to stop feeling guilty if I take a day off and not feel that I have to justify myself when I do.
(image from achieving a work life balance)
So what am I trying to say?? Well I guess in writing this it is my own cathartic (cheers for the word Kat) way of reminding myself what I said in January and actually trying to do something about it.
I need to stop feeling guilty for taking time off, and I need to actually take the time off! I need to manage my time better and don’t let me inbox rule my life!
And next time I’m ill I’ve got to stop being a martyr and stop! Slow down and take care of myself!
So if anyone hears me saying I’m too busy, slap me (virtually, not for real) and tell me to pull myself together, look at my time management and have some bloody fun!
I’m off to Cornwall next week for a few days to visit my mum and to spend some time with my Nik for our 2 years wedding anniversary. While I’m away I’m going take the time to try and figure up how to free up my time…as Nik says don’t work harder work smarter….and I’m not going to feel guilty for being away!
If anyone has any tips on guilt free relaxation or ways to work smarter do let me know, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like this??
What you don’t want a real slap, I’m good at those – I have given some stunning backhanders! I’m learning just to make my list, finish it and go to bed and remind myself that there is always time to do the things that I need.
I’ve done that whole workaholic thing earlier on way before blogging and it pretty much killed, then cremated my social life. I make a habit of having a big, fat long bubble bath. Watching crap TV, and I don’t answer work calls on a weekend anymore.
The friends and family thing has improved although there is more that I need to do. But, the key is realising that most of the stuff that we think is urgent really isn’t. And there is nothing wrong with tuning out, turning off, and totally switching off.
This is my anthem come Saturday – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLexgOxsZu0
and on top of that happy people are more productive, I find that when I am chilled out I am far more motivated.
Brilliant post as always! Your posts always make me feel so much better about my own life and not alone .. as I never seem to be getting the work life balance thing right either. I found myself saying to someone yesterday that there’s no way we could meet up till after August as its ‘Wedding Season’ and I have just too much on!
I’ve started however trying desperately to give myself at least one day a week off so I can have some down time and spend with my partner … although to be fair that didn’t work this weekend as I had a huge order on! Bang goes that theory :))
I hear you, I really hear you. I’m wrestling with this issue myself. 24 hr work, family, friends, life etc. I know I don’t have the balance right & I need to address that. Cheers for sharing. :-)
I think every self employed person feels exactly the same. I have worked as a nurse in the NHS for many years so I know that working hard and flat out will eventually burn you out. My decision to go self employed was about having a better work/life balance and not feeling so stressed. How naive I was! Anyway, I have quickly realised that I must remember why I made that decision in the first place and I do make time for time off. I did feel guilty at first but the more you do it the easier it gets. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO TIME OFF. Lists are my best friend and I make a list everyday. Each list is also prioritised in terms of what really must get done that day down to the things which could wait a bit longer and won’t cause anyone to die or the world to end should it get bumped to the next days list!
Have a great time at your mum’s and happy anniversary!
Brilliant Post, really apprieciate you sharing.. Im so in the same boat and onlt the other day made a coffee app with someone for the 3rd week in September as I am uber busy. As a new business girlie its great to know its not just me and there are so many of us all batterling with relaxation time and family time. I struggle juggling being a Mummy to a dinky person, working part-time in my other job, Working as a planner and still being a good partner / friend (although I never ever see my friends lol) I always feel like Im letteing people down, always saying, I cant Im too busy sorry. And like you, if Im in my pjs its kind’a not work, right? lol A little tip, I love going for walks (with Noah) but it gets me out the house and away from my laptop.. also as a planner I like to check out new venues/spas, and I always try and book in for a massage – which is super relaxing.. Thanks for sharing x Lauren
Oh dear! Dude I could write an epic response to this (that’s correct use of the word epic too). But I’m off to do a bit of shopping soon;)
As a fellow self employed wedding cool cat, I hears ya! I can also drum up more guilt than a catholic condom salesman. But there are simple ways to solve it.
You’ve got a strong focus on what you don’t want, rather than what you do want. It’s not just about semantics but a universal truth. That is…
‘You get what you focus on’
You say – ‘I need to stop feeling guilty if I take a day off’
But you’re focusing on the guilt and honing in on what you don’t want.
Try saying ‘I want to enjoy my next day off’
It’s so simple, but it’s actually rock hard to do and takes some serious practice. But it’s worth it.
Or try vodka, guaranteed to remove guilt whilever you’re drinking it.
How many bods are sat at work reading this blog, wishing like mad that they were in your shoes? Chained to their desks until 5pm, uninspired, bored, getting fat arses with nothing better to look forward than a trip to M&S for a pre-pack salad. All they can do is wish but it’ll never happen, some folk cannot tear themselves from the security of a salary…
The little spark that was in you that gave you the cajones to go for it is the same spark that can light the fire under that guilt and torch it, now go and blow on it and make it roar woman!
Nic, your comment really made me smile….yes i certainly need to count my blessings and not focus on the negative! I bloody love my job! and I must remember this xxxx
Hooray for you! Do enjoy Cornwall and your anniversary time. Your brides and blog can wait!
I’d like too comment on your post to say how much I feel for you and tell you that we are in exactly the same boat but I can’t as I’m FAR TOO BUSY!!! xxx
Have you really taken a look at your “to do” list and thought about what you could outsource? Alternatively consider investing in some business coaching and look at how you can work smarter not harder.
Great post again, its hard to give advice on how to regain the work/life balance
Ive been brought up to say that I work to live, not live to work and I know thats easier said than done and Im lucky that I have a business partner Kelly and we have a assitant Gillian who runs the shop for us, but even before that and although im always busy, im always in bed with the hubby at 10pm snuggled watching a DVD and make time for my friends (its sad but I “schedule” time in with friends like weekends away etc )
Another thing Ive learnt to do its turn work away (which is really hard to do) but if I havent got time I simply say I can’t!
Theres no guilt free solution Im afraid but I always think that I would rather be skint and happy tucked up watching DVD’s with Paul than running round like a headless chicken earning money I can never spend!
“don’t work harder work smarter” I never toot a man’s horn but go on the, he’s right!!
I hope you don’t “think” while you’re away, that you truly enjoy time with your mum & your fresh of two years husband. Everyone you communicate loves YOU, so a well rested YOU that has switched off will be even lovelier.
Please go to bed now & snuggle up to hubby, STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER BOHO! ;-)
I was going to say that about your holiday – but Nia beat me to it. No work, no thinking time, just Nik & sunshine ok?!
I went to Cornwall last year, and after the first day I managed to stop thinking, planning, wondering about work (even though I’d taken a pile with me).
And it was wonderful to stop.
Nothing terrible happened, nobody on the interweb missed me (oh no!) and when I got back I actually had a clear head so I could plan and prioritise better.
So – holiday first, imagine you’re going to another planet for a few days. Just take your phone.
And enjoy Cornwall – it’s the most beautiful part of the country, romantic and creative – just sink into the place and relax.
This is soo true of most self-employed people, especially in the wedding world. We are a victim our our own choice of business model. It feels as though if we are not blogging/tweeting and replying to emails every 15 minutes we aren’t working hard enough. As a new parent I am finding myself really hating this lifestyle and long to be at home more.
Dude, if you’re reading this, stop!
Go and have a cup of coffee or a lazy bath and stop reading stuff. And switch the bloody phone off for an hour. Or do some yoga… anything to get you away from the desk and give you a bit of breathing space.
STOP READING THIS NOW!!!!
Brilliant post. Obviously all of us know this scenario. Just lately I was at such a point that I echo all you say, my friends are fed up with me and my husband wished he had never heard the W word. I found that I got so fed up I was loosing inspiration. I stopped blogging for a week or so and I stopped replying instantly to the many emails from suppliers. I like suppliers of course but they wont be upset if I don’t get back to them asap. They are busy too! I found nothing happened the world did not send me a “you are crap card” and my business did not stop. I hasten to add that my brides come first but everything else can go on a to do list and if I don’t do it the ceiling still stayed up. It really is hard to switch off but you do loose all perspective if you don’t. I follow Victoria James on facebook and she is always shopping, taking time out but working incredibly hard. I look and think wow why cant I do that? I can and I am and life is better. Still not how I want it but at least a few hours a week I escape. Have a great escape in Cornwall! xx
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